Warning: Your Neighbor May be a Convicted Criminal
If you are looking for an apartment, landlords in New Jersey can no longer seek an applicant’s criminal history.
During New Jersey’s commemorative ceremony of Juneteenth on Friday, Gov. Phil Murphey signed into law a bill called the “Fair Chance in Housing Act.” The new legislation, which housing advocates in New Jersey also call the “Ban the Box” bill, only gives landlords authority to ask if an applicant is registered as a sex offender or if they have a conviction for manufacturing methamphetamine on federal housing property.
"As we commemorate Juneteenth, we must commit to both remembering the past and continuing to take action to ensure communities of color, especially Black Americans, achieve the full equity they deserve. Today, I am proud to sign the Fair Chance in Housing Act into law and work to level what has been for too long an uneven playing field when it comes to access to housing.”
The deputy director of local nonprofit Fair Share Housing, Eric Dobson also added to the Governors statement by saying that Governor Phil Murphy's signature will…
“put New Jersey at the forefront of criminal justice reform by helping to dismantle the impacts of a criminal justice system plagued by systemic racism. Every person in our state deserves a home,” Dobson said. “The Fair Chance in Housing Act sits at the intersection of housing, civil rights and criminal justice reform and will make it easier for returning citizens to rebuild their lives by removing discriminatory barriers to housing that drive up recidivism.”
New Jersey’s recognition of Juneteenth, follows the national signing of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act by President Biden, making June 19 now a federal holiday.